Maryville firefighters were treated Wednesday to a Full Service BBQ lunch, paid for by the Maryville State Farm office and delivered by the firm’s insurance agents.

State Farm Agent Hunter Jones said local offices were given a few hundred dollars by their corporate entity for ways to support their communities. The Maryville office used the money to buy food from area businesses and also to find ways to support those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.

“With all that’s going on COVID-19, we’re just trying to figure out a way to get involved back in the community,” Jones said. “Our business, it’s a relationship business. It’s difficult to do that when you can’t see people face-to-face to establish relationships. This (pandemic) is disconnecting us in a lot of ways.”

To mitigate the detachment from the community, insurance agents Jones and Anthony Slay delivered the lunches and will do so again.

On Tuesday, the agents delivered food to Alcoa firefighters, and Thursday they gave lunch to Blount County Sheriff’s Office deputies. Next week, the Maryville insurance office plans to provide food for the three Blount County law enforcement agencies. The following week, agents plan to give free meals to health care workers.

“We’re just trying to go out and say ‘Thank you,’” Jones said.

The associates had planned to order food from Savory Rootz, but Maryville State Farm Office Manager Casey Rose discovered the Alcoa eatery has been shuttered over the pandemic.

“We were so disappointed,” Rose said. “That’s a great local family restaurant. The community could have stepped in. It’s just a sad result of the craziness with what this is.”

Despite that closure, Rose said she was pleased with the food from Full Service BBQ.

“Plus who doesn’t like barbecue,” she said. “I love any kind of barbecue.”

Jones added the fire departments have been grateful for the free food, and that Maryville firefighters were sorry they couldn’t let their guests tour the facilities Wednesday because the building remains closed to the public because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s kind of crazy that the fire department was apologetic that we couldn’t go inside or take a tour,” Jones said. “They were apologetic, but they were very, very happy we we’re doing something for them.”

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